ESPN Pulls Apex Legends Broadcast in Wake of Mass Shootings
By: Bryce L. Jackson
ESPN has decided to pull a highlights broadcast of their APEX Legends Invitation from the X Games after 3 mass shootings in one weekend in the United States. The decision was made as conservative politicians drummed up old talking points of the false equivalency between video games and their non-existent influence on causing mass shootings.
First reported by esports contributor Rod “Slasher” Breslau on Twitter, ESPN was set to broadcast highlights from the taping of the APEX Legends Invitational Tournament on August 11th, but now have replaced it with “E:60 - Forever Broncos” documentary.
The “EXP Invitational APEX Legends at X Games” was held August 2nd and 3rd in Minnesota. The hour-long show set for August 11th was intended to be a show of highlights from the 2 days of tournaments. ESPN has rescheduled the airing of the show for October 6th, 15th, and 27th and the tournament is still available on-demand in ESPN’s streaming service.
The act of pulling an airing a first-person shooter (FPS) esports tournament comes as conservative politicians and the President misdirect the public on the causes of mass shootings in the United States. At the same time, ESPN is reshaping their image as a “non-political” sports network after years of on-air and writing talent commented on sports figures and “political” or liberal topics as the two intertwined in the last few years. With the departure of some of the aforementioned on-air talent and a new President of ESPN, the company has made several moves to appeal to more central to right-leaning viewers.
ESPN still aired a night of Overwatch League matches on sister channel Disney XD on Thursday and there have not been similar reports of rescheduling the Match of the Week on Sunday for the FPS esport league.